Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Interview With Susan Sleeman. . .Spyglass Lane Mysteries!

Who doesn't love a good mystery? I don't even need a cold, rainy day as an excuse to curl up in an easy chair with one. And the next best thing to reading a mystery is writing one! Below is an interview with one of my fellow mystery authors, Susan Sleeman. 
A Little History. . .
A group of us who were originally contracted and published through another publishing house, received our rights back in the summer of 2011 when the mystery line was discontinued. Yes, authors do get the rights to their books back--eventually or, as in our case, when a line is discontinued. Enter Spyglass Lane Mysteries, a joint venture between the authors and  MacGregor Literary IncBelow is a blurb from the website. Hope you'll take a moment to visit:

Ready to laugh? Swoon? And then put on your thinking cap?
Spyglass Lane Mysteries is a collection of Christian cozy mysteries—modern-day whodunnits with colorful characters and plenty of wholesome romance.
Releasing to most e-reader devices every Thursday through and, the mysteries are authored by some of Christian publishing’s favorite and best selling authors.

We've all taken a foray into the world of e-publishing together--a bold move tempered by the excitment of  the company of so many great fellow mystery writers. Since the books were orginally contracted and began as traditionally published books, the editing and content is high quality and the low digital price is highly affordable.

What inspired you to become an author and when did you get your first big break?
The life long love of reading inspired me to want to write a book, but it was God who arranged free time for it to happen. I’ve always enjoyed writing from creative to technical writing I’ve done in the corporate world, and I said for years that I was going to write a book, but I was so busy working full time, raising children, and volunteering at church that I never made the time. Then I had some health issues that limited my physical activity and I was forced to sit for long periods of time. So I started to research the craft of writing and began my first book. Soon I was writing as often as I could and actively pursuing publication.

In 2008, Barbour Publishing contracted my cozy mystery titled Nipped in the Bud. This mystery line folded, not only once but twice and now many of the authors are working together to release them in e-book format under the Spyglass Lane Mysteries imprint. You can find details about the entire line at

The same year, I contracted a romantic suspense book with Love Inspired and now have a three book series published in this line. These books, High-Stakes Inheritance, Behind the Badge, and The Christmas Witness feature the three Morgan brothers of Logan Lake, Oregon and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

What is the most important thing you want your readers to take from your books?
No question here. God is in charge and, if we know what’s best, we will seek His guidance and follow His leading. I guess since this is something I continually struggle with, it shows up time and again in my writing. But I know I am not the only one who has a hard time wanting to be in charge of my life and so I write about it to remind others, too. We are taught as we grow up to be independent, take charge, and make something of ourselves, and we lose sight of the fact that only with God’s guidance can we become everything He has created us to be.

What are you currently writing?
I have a new romantic suspense series called The Justice Agency releasing this year. This series is about five adopted siblings who work in various fields of law enforcement until their adoptive parents are murdered. When the police can’t figure out who killed their beloved parents the Justice siblings come together to solve the case. They discover in the process that they like working together and they form an investigative agency called The Justice Agency. They dedicate the agency to helping people who traditional law enforcement is either unable or unwilling to help. Double Exposure, the first book of this series will release in June  and Dead Wrong will release in November.

Tell us about your current release.
Nipped in the Bud is book one in my Garden Gate Mystery Series. Read Between the Tines and Seed You Later, books two and three will be published later in the year. These books take place in Oregon in a fictional town named Serendipity and feature Paige Turner, a landscape designer and host of a local radio show. After Paige bickers with a town official and that day he's discovered dead in a mound of mulch, she finds herself in . . . well, a pickle! With no alibi for the time of death, she struggles to prove her innocence and needs help staying out of jail. She enlists the help of lawyer Adam Hayes and soon discovers she has feelings for him. The question is will his knowledge of the law keep her out of jail and will he win her love?

Of all the characters you’ve created in your books, which is your favorite and why?
I love Paige Turner in Nipped in the Bud for many reasons. She's a quirky character who has a habit of thinking of people by the plants they resemble and treating them accordingly. As a landscape designer and host of a local radio show with more whacky callers than legitimate gardeners, Paige is more at home with plants than people and is often uncomfortable in social settings. She is often outspoken and fails to filter what she says before speaking. She has a knack for finding trouble and there is no trouble bigger than discovering a dead body. And of course, she loves gardening, which is a passion of mine, so I can't help but like her.

Where do you get ideas for stories?
My ideas come from watching TV, reading the news, seeing new inventions or advances in technology. I’m always asking what if when engaged in these activities and that often translates into a book. I put the ideas in a file and call them up when needed.

How long does it normally take you to write a book? How many books do you write per year?
It takes me about two months to actually write and give a thorough edit to a book once a synopsis is completed. Of course, there are always edits and rewrites for the publisher after that, but my goal is to complete three books a year.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
Because of our experiences and perceptions, we all put something of ourselves in our characters, but I try to make each character different and unique and that means they have to possess a variety of characteristics. If anything, I try to write characters that have features I would want to have or that I admire.

What is your typical writing day like?
I don’t really have a typical day as my writing day depends on whatever deadline I have at the moment. Let’s say that I don’t have a contract deadline, but pray that it never happens, and focus on what I would do if a day were typical.
While drinking my coffee, I start the day answering emails and posting Facebook and Twitter updates. Then I read the chapters I wrote the day before to get back into the feel for where I left off and do a bit of light editing as I read. Next I write the next chapter or as much as I can write before I no longer know where the story is going or need to do research. If research is required, I make calls, send emails, or work on the Internet until I resolve the issue. By now it’s lunchtime and as I eat I read postings from various news lists or groups I belong to. This is followed by checking email and of course wasting a bit of time on Facebook. Okay so maybe I do the Facebook and Twitter thing more than this, but hey, the writing business is a lonely business to be in.
I will write until about four in the afternoon at which time I’m kind of brain dead and I work on my website or work on updating until dinner, which I or my wonderful husband will cook. I take a short break for dinner and then continue the website work. When my eyes are crossed from the computer, I pull out a suspense book and read. Now that is a wonderful way to end the day.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Something many people don’t know is that due to both my work and my husband’s work, we have lived in nine states since we’ve been married. We started our married life in Wisconsin where I grew up—go Packers—and then moved in order to Texas, Minnesota, New York, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Oregon, Texas again (it’s such a big state you have to live there twice), and now Florida. We have loved every place we’ve lived but do have a special fondness for the Portland, Oregon area where one of our daughters still lives and the other goes to college.

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I love to read. Though as I writer I learn from reading other writer’s work, and some might see this as work, it is still a joy for me. Especially if it’s a book that I don’t need to review for I also love to spend time with my family watching TV or a movie, playing a game of just hanging out. When the weather is not brutally hot as it is now in Florida, I love to garden.

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her at her –
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